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The 'MV Narrative' - Living at Sea is Now Officially Cheaper Than Living On Land

MV Narrative cruise ship
The 741-Foot 'MV Narrative' / Photo- Storylines

The 'floating city' concept isn't particularly new. The problem is that most concepts get stuck in the design stage, and as cool as they might be they rarely, if ever, see the light of day.

Not always, though.

Sometimes a great concept makes it into production, and the MV Narrative will be setting sail in 2025. She's a real estate boon, too - you can purchase a condo or an apartment to aboard the 741-foot floating city.

So if you've ever considered ditching the mainland and living 100% at sea, the MV Narrative might be your ticket to waterworld.

The ship, which is owned and operated by the company Storylines, offers 547 fully furnished condos that can be purchased or leased. There are 11 different accommodation types, all of which have exotic names like "Inspire" and "Indulge," that vary in size from 237 to 1432 square feet. You can also select from one of 18 different decks, three of which are below sea level. The main objective of living aboard the MV Narrative is to enjoy an "all inclusive" lifestyle, so there are hardly any additional costs for living onboard. Some of the amenities include three pools, a helipad, laundry service, a gym, a movie theatre, an art studio, a bowling alley, a library, a post office, a school, a bank, onboard healthcare, full catering for all meals, satellite TV, high-speed internet, and 24-hour room service. Those who wish to cook their own meals will also have access to private kitchens.

Residents will also have a say in where the vessel goes. Storylines founder and CEO Alister Punton told CNN Travel

"What a typical cruise line might do in one month or three weeks, we will take three to four months to do."

The destinations for residents include lengthy cruises that have already been laid out by the ship's crew. Residents can vote for which itinerary they want to explore next, which include choices all around the world like the Mediterranean, Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and more.

So what was the impetus for mass producing the 'living at sea' concept? In an article with CNBC, Punton, who had no previous experience with cruise ships, said he was surprised to learn that old ships tend to be scrapped rather than re-purposed. As a former construction and property executive, Punton saw an opportunity to re-use them and provide an innovative housing market that hadn't been tapped. However, after a couple unsuccessful attempts re-designing existing ships, Punton and Storylines decided to commission their own ship from scratch. Cue the MV Narrative, which is currently being constructed in Split, Croatia.

For 28-year-old Austin Wells of San Diego, the idea of living aboard the MV Narrative was the perfect choice to suit his lifestyle. In an article with CNBC, Wells said he paid $300k USD for a 12-year lease on an apartment aboard the ship.

“The thing that most excites me is I don’t have to upend my daily routine in order to go see the world,” he told CNBC. “I’m going from this model where when you want to go somewhere, you pack a bag, you get on a flight, you rent a room, to where my condo, my gym, my doctors and dentists, all of my grocery stores travel the world with me.”

Since Wells works remotely for Meta (the previously named Facebook), life aboard the MV Narrative affords him a roving apartment where he can travel the world while still working. Despite the price he paid, according to Wells it's still cheaper than living in California once you factor in the services the ship provides that would otherwise be part of the cost of living.

According to Wells, his lease costs about $2,100 per month. By comparison, most apartments in San Diego cost more than $2,100 per month, and that doesn't include associated costs of living. The ship charges an additional $2100 per month, which covers the all-inclusive services like food, drinks, gym membership, healthcare, laundry, entertainment, and so forth. A person living in an apartment would likewise spend a similar amount each month in typical expenses. The lifestyle aboard the Narrative also does away with several major terrestrial expenses like buying and maintaining a vehicle, car insurance, home insurance, property maintenance, utilities, and property taxes.

“You wake up every morning and have an all-you-can-eat breakfast. Spend the afternoon hanging out by the pool or touring a fantastic city such as Rome or Dubrovnik,” said Wells to CNBC. “At night, have a drink in the lounge watching a comedian or a jazz band, then hit the sack and do it all over again the next day.”

Aside from the day-to-day experience, a lifestyle built around travel and new locales has appeal to anyone wishing to escape the suburbs.

"What I'm probably most excited about is going to places that ships can only uniquely go,” he told CNBC, adding cruise ships can travel to “unique ecological parts of the world or beautiful dive spots that are a few miles off land or caves to dive through and the ship will do a number of overnight stays in those areas."

If you'd like to buy or lease a condo aboard the MV Narrative you can make the purchase on their website to reserve your spot.

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